Cat Behaviour Problems: How To Solve Them
Like people, cats can experience a variety of emotions that can influence their behaviour. Our feline Fluffy Friends can feel fear, pleasure, anxiety, and frustration.
While specific actions are typical, some are not, and they may point to cat behaviour problems that you need to address.
Here, we'll go over the typical feline behavioural issues, how to deal with them, and when to seek expert assistance.
Causes of Cat Behavior Problems
Many factors affect an animal's behaviour. And genetics, learning and experience, physiology, and environment are a few of these variables.
According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, feline behaviours can be inherited. Additionally, the impact of the other kittens in the litter, the quantity and type of human contact, and exposure to new things and situations may affect a cat's temperament.
Of course, it can't be discounted that the brain's functions also influence your fur baby. Abnormal hormone levels also affect some forms of anger and fear. And with ageing, the brain's regulatory activities become less effective, which causes fears and anxiety to rise.
Related: 10 Signs and Symptoms of a Sick Cat
Common Cat Behavior Problems
Observing your feline's behaviour for any signs and symptoms of illness is vital because abrupt changes in behaviour may be a contributor.
Just as you are about to nod off, you hear your cat's loud yowling and wailing.
While this isn't unusual, as hungry kitties typically vocalise, it may be annoying and can also mean there might be something wrong.
Like their wild relatives, cats are nocturnal, so they might be more active at night.
Here are some points to consider:
- In senior cats, howling may be a sign of senility.
- Because Siamese cats are inherently more talkative than other breeds, they will meow loudly to get your attention at night.
- Your cat may be bored in the dead of night.
- Meows and screams during the day may indicate illness. While using its litter box, a crying cat might be experiencing discomfort as they try to urinate or defecate.
- Vocalizations may also be caused by pain, such as indoor catfights or pinched tails.
- During the day, a cat may be wailing, meowing, or pleading for attention.
What to do?
Try to give your pet more activity during day time, so they're less active at night. Be careful how you respond because they might be seeking attention, be hungry, or wanting to go outside.
Your cat will learn to make these vocalisations to get what they want if you respond to them when they call for your attention.
A survey of cat owners says that about 84% of cats scratch inappropriate items.
You might notice your companion liking your chairs or carpet too much, and that's highly likely behaviour for untrained tabbies.
Cats mark their territory with scratches. By giving your cat scratching posts and other toys to dig its claws into, you can stop your cat from damaging things you'd prefer it wouldn't.
What to do?
Set a scratching post in front of the things you don't want your cat to scratch. Sprinkle catnip on it to lure your cat into using it.
You may need to experiment with scratching posts with different textures because some cats prefer particular fabrics more than others.
If your kitty doesn't like the post it's currently using, try one constructed out of corrugated cardboard, rope, or carpeting.
You can also use nail caps and pheromones to help safeguard your furniture. Sprays and diffusers with pheromones relax your cat and prevent any stress- or anxiety-related scratching.
Declawing is an operation to stop cats from scratching furniture. But you should do extensive research on this irreversible procedure and speak with your vet about it.
Unlike dogs, cats are not known to be chewy. Still, it's not unheard of in cats to do damage because of excessive chewing.
Your cat's chewing behaviour may be brought on by boredom, hostility, a deficiency in nutrition, kitten teething, or being weaned too early. It might just be your cat playing or enjoying the flavour or texture of the object.
What to do?
In order to find the best solution, consider the cause of your cat's chewing:
- Does your cat food have an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) seal on the container? The seal indicates that the cat food is nutritionally complete.
- To rule out any dental issues, consult your veterinarian.
- Investigate the idea that your feline is acting out on the thing it's chewing out of aggression. Supplements and other products designed to reduce anxiety and stress may aid in reducing aggressive behaviour.
- Give your kitties some toys to play with.
- A bitter spray can deter persistent cats trying to gnaw on things they shouldn't. Plastic casing can protect small, potentially harmful objects like electrical wires.
Cats may experience several urinary problems.
Your kitties may spray or urinate outside the litter box due to multiple factors like bladder stones, inflammation, stress, infection, or tumours.
Clashes between cats or other pets and changes to the household can stress tabbies and cause urine marking.
What to do?
If you notice your Fluffy Friend struggling to urinate, take it to the vet immediately. Once medical causes are ruled out, you may have to assess a behavioural issue.
- Keep the litter box clean.
- Generally, there should be one litter box per cat per floor.
- It's possible that your cat doesn't like the litter you're using or that the box is too deep. Consider using less litter or changing to unscented or other types of litter.
- Make sure the cats in a multi-cat household can't see each other when they're using separate litter boxes simultaneously.
- Look around your home for potential stressors and try to remove them.
Cats can develop aggressive behaviour against people and other animals, which is a serious behavioural issue. Aggression may result from medical conditions, hormonal changes, or stress and anxiety.
What to do?
Keep an eye out for anything that can make your cat act aggressively. Your cat may need to adjust to the trigger.
Pheromones, medications, supplements, and special diets might be helpful. You can also give your companion other things to concentrate on, such as toys that encourage exercise.
Even carnivorous cats eat the occasional plant once in a while. However, some houseplants may pose a risk to your fluffball's health.
What to do?
Try putting pinecones in the planters. Alternatively, a container of catnip or wheatgrass can help distract your tabby from your plants.
Related: 10 Cat Breeds That Get Along With Dogs
How to Solve Cat Behaviour Problems
There are several ways to treat cat behaviour problems. Some opt for behaviour modification techniques, while others use medication.
Still, we strongly advise seeking veterinary advice before proceeding, as a treatment plan for behaviour issues always depends on the specific disorder.
Related: Spaying and Neutering: We Help You Decide
When they are young, expose your kittens to a wide variety of experiences since they can adapt to changes better than adult cats.
By improving the quality of your pet's life, you can reduce the likelihood that they'll become bored, which can help with cat behaviour problems.
It's best to train your Fluffy Friend early to prevent behavioural issues.
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I adopted two cats. One is two years old and the other one and a half years.
Both have been traumatized. First byblosing their power to cancer. Their Owens daughter took over the job of carrying for them. However, the apartment complex changed the rules which didn’t allow pets.
She put them up for adoption but one of them is very feral and will not tolerate human contact. I have both the male is very friendly, playful, and full of energy.
The female is in hiding and very nervous, and fearful. I have had the for a week. How do I get the female to trust me and come out of hiding?
We totally understand where you’re coming from. First, the female cat may be having a harder time adjusting to the new environment because she may still be dealing with anxiety and abandonment issues. What we can recommend are the following:
1. Respect her bounderies 2. Try observing her body language so you can adapt especially with touch. Taking a gradual approach is best like how she wants to be touched. 3. Never force a friendship, let her approach you. Then again, try encouraging interactions by just letting her watch what you’re doing. 4. Be predictable so she gets used to you. 5. Use treats or rewards when she comes out of hiding or does something positive. 6. Use toys to play with her and observe her body language.
Let us know what works with her!
—From Your MrFluffyFriend Team!